| SAN FRANCISCO
SAN FRANCISCO May 17 Target Corp said
on Friday it opened a new San Francisco office to track down
technology companies that can help the second-largest U.S.
retailer grow its online commerce business.
Target's Technology Innovation Center is run by David
Newman, an executive who spent six years at the online business
of Wal-Mart Stores Inc, which has had a major presence
in Silicon Valley for several years.
"Partnership is in our DNA and early-stage companies can
sense that and are proving to be very willing to partner and
co-develop," said Newman.
Many retailers are pouring money into new technology to help
them catch up with Amazon.com Inc, which has become the
world's largest retailer by grabbing market share from
traditional bricks-and-mortar stores.
Mobile commerce, powered by smartphone-wielding shoppers, is
a particular focus of retailers because this technology has the
potential to revitalize in-store sales.
Target's San Francisco office will focus on "core commerce"
initiatives, such as speeding up the company's website. However,
it also aims to bring more digital shopping experiences into the
retailer's physical stores through smartphones, Newman said.
One area Target is exploring is "augmented reality," which
uses smartphone cameras to give shoppers a digital view of store
aisles and show them related products, Newman said.
That technology is still a long way off, but Newman noted
that Target is already working with eBay Inc and Google
Inc, two Silicon Valley giants, on same-day delivery
Target also recently began testing a service that allows its
employees to order products online and pick them up in the
retailer's stores. The company plans to roll this out to
customers this Fall.
Wal-Mart's e-commerce offices, south of San Francisco, have
churned out a slew of new online and mobile technology in recent
years and these efforts might be showing early signs of success.
First-quarter e-commerce sales jumped 30 percent from a year
earlier, Wal-Mart reported earlier this week.
"The company seems to be gaining traction in several
geographies with different technologies such as Scan & Go, Ship
from Store and increased mobile capabilities," Robert Drbul, a
retail analyst at Barclays, wrote in a note to investors on